Tuesday, 29 June 2010

are crepuscular dogs active at sunset?

Crepuscular...I just came across this favorite word in a book about dogs. I've enjoyed the word since reading and loving the hilarious novels of P G Wodehouse about Bertie Wooster, who was crepuscular. (Maybe it was another of Wodehouse's wonderful characters who was crepuscular, but I think it was Bertie Wooster.)

I'm chuffed to see that someone else loves this word; it's number 26 on the BBC News Magazine's list of fifty favorite words. (I'm being tough with myself here. I will not, will not, will not get distracted by the other 49 wonderful words.)

The American Heritage Dictionary give two definitions, and the second one relates to zoology:

Becoming active at twilight or before sunrise, as do bats and certain insects and birds.

So, dogs are supposedly crepuscular...That may explain why my dog Penny happily lies around all day and becomes active at sunset. I had the impression it was the thought of dinner that got her going. As to sunrise...no way is she active at that hour!

7 comments:

Gus aka Clare said...

H'm I think I'm the only non-crepuscular member of this household! Great word.

parlance said...

Hi, Gus, thanks for the comment! This blog gets very lonely out here in the cyber-void.

parlance said...

Just realised it's you, Clare. Speaking for Gus, of course.

therigatha said...

I absolutely love this word....and it definitely suits my temperament, though some would say it is just my internal clock checking for drinks time!

parlance said...

theregatha, I think there should be a word, 'drinkstimular'. Hmm..., needs the 'e', I think, so maybe it should be 'drinkstimeular'. On the other hand, drinks ARE rather stimulating, so maybe the first word is better.

Sue said...

Tsar is crepuscular. He goes outside in the morning, just after dinner and again at bedtime. The rest of the day he sleeps in the cool basement. Samba and several of her pups awaken at 4AM and are ready to start the day. I always assumed it was bred into them because that's about the time the fishing boats would leave port. perhaps you've uncovered the real reason.

parlance said...

Sue, I was surprised when I read about their being crepuscular. Maybe over the thousands of years of living with us they've adapted to a daytime routine, but maybe those breeds who were more useful to humans as crepuscular companions have kept the trait. It's certainly handy for humans these days who leave their dogs alone at home during the daylight hours.